Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rains in 2015 (Nov-Dec) – pros and cons - My experiences

After a long time, I am back to this blog with fresh experiences. 

People of Tamil Nadu, witnessed heavy rain fall this year. This is known to have occurred earlier in 1918. So nearly after a century, such a heavy down pour, accompanied with floods, paralyzed the normal life in most parts of Tamil Nadu, especially in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore districts.

There are definitely cons due to floods. But how come there will be pros? Well to know that, request you to read the below jottings of mine, which are completely my view. I have no intention to hurt anyone. All that is mentioned here are my personal opinion. Unintentionally, if this hurts anyone, my sincere apologies.

Reasons for flooding (with respect to Chennai):
  1. Clogged Storm water drains
  2. Clogged underground drainage
  3.  Polluting the river course, there by affecting its flow
  4. Constructing homes near the river bed, marsh areas 
  5. Re-laying of roads, without scrapping
  6. Garbage disposal issues
These are the few reasons that come to my mind on analyzing. All these are age old problems. These have been growing up for more than 5 decades. I heard from one of my relative, when they were staying in chenai, they experienced a heavy rain fall in 1960s. There was power cut for a week. But there was no water logging then. They were able to move around in day time and manage the situation. So now, there was a problem. Water logging and associated hurdles. These cannot be attributed to one entity, just the government. We citizens are also the reason for it. We shall see about these in detail.

1.       Clogged Storm water drains
The storm water drains, which collect the rain water in the streets and join them to the river (adyar/cooum/ buckingham) has not been checked for blocks for years together. There need to be a periodic checking of the same. There was lethargy in checking the same. Beautiful footpaths were built on the drains, which were blocked with nasty garbage things, liquor bottles, leaves etc. This was unfolded when the drain’s lid was opened and checked for blocks by the workers, during the recent floods.

2.       Clogged underground drainage
In city like Chennai, we have underground drainage. Most other tier 2 cities still have open drainage systems in interior streets. The process of converting them to underground drainage is in progress. This is a very good sign. Underground drainage is hygienic. There will be less mosquitoes, flies etc., thereby reducing the cause of diseases. But, if the pumping of drainage is not done properly, this is worse than open drainage. In the recent rains we witnessed this too. When all the rain water started to recede, drainage started to seep out, creating fear among the residents.

3.       Polluting the river course, there by affecting its flow
The garbage in our home or office or shop needs to be properly channeled. It need to be put in the common dust bin kept by the local authorities or handed over to the sanitary workers who normally collect at a particular time of the day. Instead most of the citizens learned or not, out of laziness, throw them in the street or in the river banks. Even they put the garbage, near the storm water drain unknowingly. This attitude has to change. We need to keep the streets clean and green as we would like to keep our living room. What happens is this garbage, in highly populated city like Chennai, on reaching the river banks, obstructs the flow of river.

Had the river’s flow not obstructed as it was the case during floods this year, there won’t be floods. The flow of the released water from chembarambakkam dam would have been smooth along the adyar river and the places like kotturpuram, adyar, saidapet, jhafferkhanpet, ramapuram, manapakkam etc would have not been inundated.

Again, this problem had been persisting for years together and let us all see if this doesn’t happen once again.

4.       Constructing homes near the river bed, marsh areas
While travelling through MRTS train, I have seen several huts, near the banks of Adyar and Cooum River. We need to ensure that those without proper homes need to be provided with one and the area near the banks should be clear.

There are few areas that are named as marsh lands. Before constructing we need to be aware of the soil type and if it is a marsh land, we should not construct home there. If there are rains, marsh lands will be severely inundated. It will take time for those lands to dry. Water stagnation will be there and it will lead to several water borne diseases.

5.       Re-laying of roads, without scrapping
Whenever a road is laid newly, the existing road should be scrapped and then new road has to be laid. If this is done, the houses built in the street will not go to the lower level. If it is not scrapped and the road is laid on the existing road, then the houses will keep going to the low level. Then if it rains and if flood comes, water will enter the houses, causing problems to the inmates.

6.       Garbage disposal issues
As already discussed above in point 3, garbage disposal need to be done properly. As good citizens, we need to be responsible. We need to remember that garbage needs to be put in the bins and not in streets. Even if we see someone putting garbage on streets, tell them politely this. If they refuse, you take the garbage bag in your hand, in front of them and dispose it properly. There are bins in almost every street. If it is not properly cleared, make a complaint to the zonal offices in your area. Most of the problems persist due to absence of communication. This thing I have personally witnessed during this rains.

All the points discussed above needs co-operation from both the public and the government. At least the garbage disposal point can be done by us with immediate effect. This will bring a drastic change. This is the first step in the swachh bharat initiative started by the central government this year in 2015.

Positive aspects gained during the rains:

Power cut for a prolonged period during the rains, due to water stagnation in streets, made people to come together. We have been sticking a lot to televisions, music players, smart phones, social networks all these days. We seldom talked to our neighbor or even with our family members. Since there was no electricity, the gadgets stopped working. So people resorted to in person communication. This made them to know about each other personally.

There was signal problem due to electricity failure. Cell phones didn’t work. There was neither charge in the battery nor signal to speak. So internet didn’t work. All these whatspp, facebook, twitter were not used. So this prompted us to visit our relatives, friends in person and it was a get together.
People whose home were inundated with water, moved to their friend’s home or relative’s home which are at a height and at a safe area. Even there, they were not sure of electricity. But they felt a sense of security in being with their kiths and kins. Candle light dinner was also there!

Due to floods, there was trouble in movement of autos, cars, two wheelers. So people resorted to walking to areas nearby. They even made use of public transport like bus, train etc. Whatever they had they shared with themselves. In a way there was conservation of energy.

In my area, there was no power for 5 days. So people with inverter or generator facility judicially used the lights. They switched it off during day and conserved it for night. Diesel was also of great demand, which made hotels/shops to judicially use the resource without wasting it.

So, let me put the points learned.
  •  Conserve resources.
  • Make hay while the sun shines. Start saving for the rainy day. Get stock of imperishable things, like medicines etc that have longer shelf life.
  • Get the things done on time. Don’t postpone that it can be done later. Time and tide wait for none.
  • Share our belongings with others and help others during needy time.
  • Do not buy the things you wish to have. Buy the things you actually want. Because most of the perishable things bought out of wish went waste due to power cuts.
  • Walk as much as you can. It is good for your health. It saves fuel and checks pollution level.
  • Use air conditioner only when you actually need. Just because you see an AC don’t switch it on while the climate itself is chill. The more your AC is in off state, the more global warming is cut.
In short, lead a simple life and be happy.